A fun little car with the top down, the Mini Cooper's small engine doesn't give it much pep. Adding an automatic transmission to the equation makes it much worse.
Mini, as resurrected by BMW, has a relatively small lineup of cars, all similarly styled. The Cooper is at the low end of the lineup in the U.S., although the convertible top raises it up a notch, and adds to the price.
Mini has done the best job of any automaker of bringing a retro design to market. The new Mini evokes a lot of the design attributes of the original, but if you put the old and new side by side, they actually look very different.
As the base model Cooper, this Mini is equipped with a 1.6-liter four cylinder engine, making 120 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. In contrast, the Cooper S model adds a turbocharger to this engine, increasing the horsepower to 175.
Four seater convertibles often look like bath tubs when the top is down, but the Mini Cooper Convertible doesn't suffer from this problem because of its small size. We particularly like the convertible's power operation, merely requiring the user to hold down a switch.
The six speed automatic transmission is a poor choice to go along with the Mini's small displacement engine, as it makes it more difficult to wring power out of it. There is a button labeled Sport in front of the shifter that remaps the throttle programming for higher engine speeds.